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A Plea for Epistemic Excuses

In Fabian Dorsch Julien Dutant (ed.), The New Evil Demon Problem. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)

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  1. Knowledge-First Theories of Justification.Paul Silva Jr - forthcoming - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Knowledge-first theories of justification give knowledge priority when it comes to explaining when and why someone has justification for an attitude or an action. The emphasis of this entry is on knowledge-first theories of justification for belief. As it turns out there are a number of ways of giving knowledge priority when theorizing about justification, and in what follows I offer an opinionated survey of more than a dozen existing options that have emerged in the last two decades since the (...)
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  • Recklessness and Uncertainty: Jackson Cases and Merely Apparent Asymmetry.Claire Field - 2019 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (4):391-413.
    Is normative uncertainty like factual uncertainty? Should it have the same effects on our actions? Some have thought not. Those who defend an asymmetry between normative and factual uncertainty typically do so as part of the claim that our moral beliefs in general are irrelevant to both the moral value and the moral worth of our actions. Here I use the consideration of Jackson cases to challenge this view, arguing that we can explain away the apparent asymmetries between normative and (...)
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  • How Inference Isn’T Blind: Self-Conscious Inference and its Role in Doxastic Agency.David Jenkins - 2019 - Dissertation, King’s College London
    This thesis brings together two concerns. The first is the nature of inference—what it is to infer—where inference is understood as a distinctive kind of conscious and self-conscious occurrence. The second concern is the possibility of doxastic agency. To be capable of doxastic agency is to be such that one is capable of directly exercising agency over one’s beliefs. It is to be capable of exercising agency over one’s beliefs in a way which does not amount to mere self-manipulation. Subjects (...)
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  • On the Generality Argument for the Knowledge Norm.Davide Fassio - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3459-3480.
    An increasingly popular view in contemporary epistemology holds that the most fundamental norm governing belief is knowledge. According to this norm one shouldn’t believe what one doesn’t know. A prominent argument for the knowledge norm appeals to the claim that knowledge is the most general condition of epistemic assessment of belief, one entailing all other conditions under which we epistemically assess beliefs. This norm would provide an easy and straightforward explanation of why we assess beliefs along all these various epistemic (...)
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  • It's OK to Make Mistakes: Against the Fixed Point Thesis.Claire Field - 2019 - Episteme 16 (2):175-185.
    Can we make mistakes about what rationality requires? A natural answer is that we can, since it is a platitude that rational belief does not require truth; it is possible for a belief to be rational and mistaken, and this holds for any subject matter at all. However, the platitude causes trouble when applied to rationality itself. The possibility of rational mistakes about what rationality requires generates a puzzle. When combined with two further plausible claims – the enkratic principle, and (...)
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  • Motivating Reason to Slow the Factive Turn in Epistemology.J. Drake - forthcoming - In Veli Mitova (ed.), The Factive Turn in Epistemology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 1-22.
    In this paper I give a novel argument for the view that epistemic normative reasons (or evidence) need not be facts. I first argue that the nature of normative reasons is uniform, such that our positions about the factivity of reasons should agree across normative realms –– whether epistemic, moral, practical, or otherwise. With that in mind, I proceed in a somewhat indirect way. I argue that if practical motivating reasons are not factive, then practical normative reasons are not factive. (...)
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  • Rationality and Truth.Stewart Cohen & Juan Comesaña - forthcoming - In Julien Dutant & Fabian Dorsch (eds.), The New Evil Demon. Oxford University Press.
    The traditional view in epistemology is that we must distinguish between being rational and being right (that is also, by the way, the traditional view about practical rationality). In his paper in this volume, Williamson proposes an alternative view according to which only beliefs that amount to knowledge are rational (and, thus, no false belief is rational). It is healthy to challenge tradition, in philosophy as much as elsewhere. But, in this instance, we think that tradition has it right. In (...)
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  • Excusing Prospective Agents.Cameron Boult - 2016 - Logos and Episteme 7 (2):119-128.
    Blameless norm violation in young children is an underexplored phenomenon in epistemology. An understanding of it is important for accounting for the full range of normative standings at issue in debates about epistemic norms, and the internalism-externalism debate generally. More specifically, it is important for proponents of factive epistemic norms. I examine this phenomenon and put forward a positive proposal. I claim that we should think of the normative dimension of certain actions and attitudes of young children in terms of (...)
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  • Criticism and Blame in Action and Assertion.Christoph Kelp & Mona Simion - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (2):76-93.
    In this paper, we develop a general normative framework for criticisability, blamelessness and blameworthiness in action. We then turn to the debate on norms of assertion. We show that an application of this framework enables champions of the so-called knowledge rule of assertion to offer a theoretically motivated response to a number of putative counterexamples in terms of blamelessness. Finally, we argue that, on closer inspection, the putative counterexamples serve to confirm the knowledge rule and disconfirm rival views.
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  • Etiological Information and Diminishing Justification.Paul Silva - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (2):1-25.
    Sometimes it’s reasonable to reduce confidence in a proposition in response to gaining etiological information. Suppose, for example, a theist learns that her theism is ‘due to’ her religious upbringing. There is a clear range of cases where it would be reasonable for her to respond by slightly decreasing her confidence in God’s existence. So long as reasonability and justification are distinct, this reasonability claim would appear consistent with the thesis that this kind of etiological information cannot, all by itself, (...)
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  • Internalism and Entitlement to Rules and Methods.Joshua Schechter - forthcoming - In Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen & Peter J. Graham (eds.), Epistemic Entitlement. Oxford University Press.
    In our thought, we employ rules of inference and belief-forming methods more generally. For instance, we (plausibly) employ deductive rules such as Modus Ponens, ampliative rules such as Inference to the Best Explanation, and perceptual methods that tell us to believe what perceptually appears to be the case. What explains our entitlement to employ these rules and methods? This chapter considers the motivations for broadly internalist answers to this question. It considers three such motivations—one based on simple cases, one based (...)
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  • Luckily, We Are Only Responsible for What We Could Have Avoided.Philip Swenson - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):106-118.
    This paper has two goals: (1) to defend a particular response to the problem of resultant moral luck and (2) to defend the claim that we are only responsible for what we could have avoided. Cases of overdetermination threaten to undermine the claim that we are only responsible for what we could have avoided. To deal with this issue, I will motivate a particular way of responding to the problem of resultant moral luck. I defend the view that one's degree (...)
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  • How Many Normative Notions of Rationality? A Critical Study of Wedgwood’s The Value of Rationality.Giacomo Melis - 2020 - Analysis 80 (1):174-185.
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  • On Justifications and Excuses.B. Madison - 2018 - Synthese 195 (10):4551-4562.
    The New Evil Demon problem has been hotly debated since the case was introduced in the early 1980’s (e.g. Lehrer and Cohen 1983; Cohen 1984), and there seems to be recent increased interest in the topic. In a forthcoming collection of papers on the New Evil Demon problem (Dutant and Dorsch, forthcoming), at least two of the papers, both by prominent epistemologists, attempt to resist the problem by appealing to the distinction between justification and excuses. My primary aim here is (...)
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  • A Plea for Falsehoods.Juan Comesaña - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (2):247-276.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Knowing How to Put Knowledge First in the Theory of Justification.Paul Silva - 2017 - Episteme 14 (4):393-412.
    I provide a novel knowledge-first account of justification that avoids the pitfalls of existing accounts while preserving the underlying insight of knowledge-first epistemologies: that knowledge comes first. The view I propose is, roughly, this: justification is grounded in our practical knowledge (know-how) concerning the acquisition of propositional knowledge (knowledge-that). I first refine my thesis in response to immediate objections. In subsequent sections I explain the various ways in which this thesis is theoretically superior to existing knowledge-first accounts of justification. The (...)
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  • Justifications and Excuses in Epistemology.Daniel Greco - forthcoming - Noûs.
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  • The Demon That Makes Us Go Mental: Mentalism Defended.Jonathan Egeland - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3141-3158.
    Facts about justification are not brute facts. They are epistemic facts that depend upon more fundamental non-epistemic facts. Internalists about justification often argue for mentalism, which claims that facts about justification supervene upon one’s non-factive mental states, using Lehrer and Cohen’s :191–207, 1983) New Evil Demon Problem. The New Evil Demon Problem tells you to imagine yourself the victim of a Cartesian demon who deceives you about what the external world is like, and then asks whether you nevertheless have justification (...)
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  • No Need for Excuses: Against Knowledge-First Epistemology and the Knowledge Norm of Assertion.Joshua Schechter - 2017 - In J. Adam Carter, Emma Gordon & Benjamin Jarvis (eds.), Knowledge-First: Approaches in Epistemology and Mind. Oxford University Press. pp. 132-159.
    Since the publication of Timothy Williamson’s Knowledge and its Limits, knowledge-first epistemology has become increasingly influential within epistemology. This paper discusses the viability of the knowledge-first program. The paper has two main parts. In the first part, I briefly present knowledge-first epistemology as well as several big picture reasons for concern about this program. While this considerations are pressing, I concede, however, that they are not conclusive. To determine the viability of knowledge-first epistemology will require philosophers to carefully evaluate the (...)
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  • On Divorcing the Rational and the Justified in Epistemology.Kurt Sylvan - manuscript
    Many epistemologists treat rationality and justification as the same thing. Those who don’t lack detailed accounts of the difference, leading their opponents to suspect that the distinction is an ad hoc attempt to safeguard their theories of justification. In this paper, I offer a new and detailed account of the distinction. The account is inspired by no particular views in epistemology, but rather by insights from the literature on reasons and rationality outside of epistemology. Specifically, it turns on a version (...)
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